Offshore Gas Drilling 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel expects to resume talks with the Palestinians on the development of two
natural- gas fields off the Gaza coast with an eye toward opening them within a
year and a half.
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Quartet special
envoy Tony Blair announced the potential resumption of project negotiations on
Friday, when they met in Jerusalem.
They spoke just one day before an
explosion in Sinai cut the pipe via which Egypt sends natural gas to
“It’s important for us to develop additional [natural gas]
resources, but it’s also important for the Palestinians,” said
“There’s a Palestinian Authority gas field adjacent to an
Israeli gas field [off the Gaza coast.] We need to develop both simultaneously.
This is something that the Palestinian Authority has expressed interest
“I think we’re going to begin discussions and negotiations to
facilitate both, where the revenues from the Palestinian field go to the
Palestinian Authority, and the revenues from the Israeli field go to the Israeli
government,” said Netanyahu.
“I think this is good for stability, good
for prosperity and good for peace,” he said.
Blair added that the gas
from the Palestinian field, known as Gaza Marine 1, would be sent to Gaza,
including to the power plant there.
“This is an important breakthrough
for the Palestinian Authority, the people in Gaza and the broader region,” said
Talks to develop an agreement that would allow the development of
the two fields broke off in 2007 after Hamas forcibly took over Gaza.
the talks succeed, Israel’s field, known as Gaza Marine 2, could be the first of
its natural gas resources to come on line, as it’s expected that other projects
would not be operational until the end of the decade.
Netanyahu said it was important for the country to diversify its supply of
“Israel has, of course, its own gas supplies down the line
in the close of the decade, but we have interim gas needs,” said Netanyahu.